The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Julie Thomas on The Difference Between a Sales Methodology and a Sales Process

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There are those out there who don’t understand the difference between a sales process, a true framework, and more tactical types of training.

If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re talking to Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates, about how sales methodologies fit into your organizations and how you as an individual contributor can leverage them to effectively increase your success. Julie uses an American football analogy to explain.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Today, on the B Tob Revenue ExecutiveExperience, we're talking about the difference between sales methodologies,frameworks and process, how they fit into your organizations and how you, asan individual contributor, can leverage them to effectively increase yoursuccess. You Ere listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicatted ELP withh executives, traintheir sales and marketing tupes to optimize growth. Whether you're lookingfor techniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one. Welcomeeveryone! I'm your host Chad Sanderson today we're going to be speaking withJulie. Thomas CEO of valueselling associates for those that are not aware.vayselling associates is responsible for the value selling framework, aswell as war text prospecting framework that sales companies are using today tomake sure that they are connecting to the buyer, keeping the pipeline fulland understanding how to effectively qualify opportunities. So sales repsare spending time where they're going to be able to generate the greatestreturns. It's an interesting conversation, especially as the buyerlandscape, has changed as buyers expect more collaboration. They expect theirsales reps and sales teams to connect with their needs, not necessarily whatsales executives believe is important. There needs to be a framework in a toolset that enables us to happen. The valueselling framework is of war textprospecting framework are both examples of effective juels that are tailored totoday's landscape of Bto B buyers. WHO's. A great conversation with Julia,want to thank her for taking the time and without further ado, let's rollright into that interview. Julie, welcome to show thanks fortaking the time today. Thanks Chat, it's pleasure to be herethis morning, excellent. So before we jump in same question that we ask, youknow all of our guests give little insight into our listeners aboutdefining moment in your life, something that you keep going back to maybechange the trajectory of your career or your life and lessons that you learnfrom it sure. Without doubt, the definingmoment in my life is when I transitioned out of a corporate bigcorporate position into valueselling associates, and I kind of call myselfan accidental entrepreneur here. But the situation was this back in twothousand and two I worked for a large company. I was actually a group vicepresident running all of training and development for a worldwide salesorganization, and I reported directly to the executive ICE president of USsales, and what happened is what sometimes happens in corporate America.My boss's boss left the company and a new guy came inand slowly but surely he started changing out all of his direct reportsso about two months into it. All of a sudden, my boss left the company and and a new guy camein, and it was just one of those things...

...where you kind of saw the ripple effectof of management changes take place, and so I kind of knew I had a target onmy back and sure enough. I got the call literally the Friday before Christmasat the end of two thousand and two and was told hey we're going to eliminateyour position and if you want to say with a company,you have an option to move back to Connecticut and take on a differentrole. Well, I live in San, Diego and my husband, so that wasn't an option alsoafter after he transferred me to human resources and everything you know, I left the company that thegood news is the company treated me extremely fairly. I had been you know,a good employee for them, a top performer in sales and sales leadership,and so they treated me very fairly, but it put me in a position to reallyevaluate what I wanted to do, and I was actually a customer of valuesellingassociaets in through that relationship had become very good friends with thefounder of value selling, Lloyd, Sapington, and so I approached him andthought hey. I can do this. I can be a trainer. I can become one of the teammembers at value selling, associates and unbenonce to me at the time. Lloydwas starting to think about his retirement plan, so we sat down and- and he suggested that it might ratherthan come in as a trainer- that it might make sense for me toconsider buying him out of his kind of sopropriertoship business and taking over value selling associatesand and so after some Sol searching and some finance decisions. My husband and Itook a second mortgage out on our home and put together a plan to purchasevalue selling associates and the intellectual P property in the company,from Lloyd and over a four year period of time I became full owner andpresident and CEO valueselling associate so never planned to berunning a business, never expected to be running a business, but but I kind of opened myself up to theopportunity as it came up and figured it out as I went along- and you know fifteen years later here, I amso definitely changed the trajectory of Your Life Oltf for sure for sure in such a positive way. I can't evenimagine it's imagine still being you know, a soldierin corporate America. Well, that was a wonderful part of my career and Ilearned so much through every position I had in corporate America now runningmy own company, you know and we oure corporation,however, we're a smaller corporation has just been a ton of fun...

...and again learned a whole lot throughthis process and really have, I think, brought value sellingassociates to the next level in our kind oftrajectory of our business, excellent, so w for our guests, our listeners,let's talk about what exactly is valueselling associates and what do youguys do so value selling associates is a salesmethodology company we partner primarily with business to businesssales organizations and help them improve their sales productivity, andwe do that by working with the sales team and teaching them how to competeon value, not price. And so, when we talk, when you sayframework right, they're those out there, we run into them every day thatdon't really understand the difference between a sales process, a trueframework and my more tactical types of training. Can you help our owningsunderstand the difference and in that landscape? What sets value selling theviceselling from work apart from others? Absolutely so I'm going to steal ananalogy that somebody shared with me a couple of years ago and compare and theanalogy is going to be based on American football. So if you think of afootball field, you've got mile or yard markers along a hundred yard field andyou're, either at the fifty yard line or you're at the twenty yard line oryou're in the end zone. So if you kind of picture that a sales process isanalogis to that football field- and it is, you know where am I in the processof finding a prospect to converting that prospect to a customer? And am Iat the fifty yard line or the beginning part of that process? or Am I in theRed Zone, at the ten yard line and at the end of that process? So salesprocess typically is an indication for a sales leader or manager to look at anopportunity and say: Okay: Where is it on this field or the spectrum offinding tem to converting them to a client? A sales methodology is actually t e, the steps and theprocesss that a sales rep would go to move something from that fifty yardline to the EN zone and all of the things that has to happen in betweentheir so the valueselling framework is a methodology. We are the how to qualify, advance and close thoseopportunities, and we have the. When we talk about a framework, we've got a setof tools, skills and processes that are all interwoven together for theobjective of moving that opportunity from the fifty yard line to the endzone. Now,...

...one of the things that I think is veryunique about value selling is, since we are a sales methodology we can alignand integrate into any sales process, because the sales process is just thedefinition of those steps and then sales skills training is kind of theblocking and tackling so by becoming a framework anpositioningourselves. In that way, with a client, we not only bring to them the processthe. How do I move this opportunity forward? The skills of what actuallyhas to happen, whether it's? How do I open a sales call? How do I actuallycreate an opportunity in the first place? How do I qualify that? How do Idemonstrate my credibility and value and handle objections and all thosedisparate skills, as well as a tool set that hangs all of that together? So ourframework is really the process, the methodology, the skills and the toolsall integrated together. That makes it a very executable and implementablesolution. Perfect, perfect, so value selling or VSA has more than just thevaleuyselling framework in terms of tools and ways of training peopleofferings things of that nature. Can you help give us an overview of you nowkind of the landscape. O valleyselling associates offerings four sales, anablement sure, there's there's you can look at it a number ofdifferent ways, so the valueselling framework is our core methodology andthat's where what I think, probably ninety percent of the people in themarketplace and in the industry recognize us for, but in addition tothat, we've got a number of different offerings that align to thatframe framework, leverage, the same terminology and tool set and extend theapplication. So, for example, we also have a value, selling accountmanagement tool which leverages that methodology, but also addresses theunique skills that a sales rup might need to really identify potential opportunities in a largeaccount and how to communicate with a global account team and collaborate tobring those opportunities to fruition. We also have an offering called vortexprospecting, which is all about. How do you fill the funnel? How do you createthose opportunities so that I have the opportunity to actually engage thoseprospects in advance and close those opportunities and vortex prospectingagain is an extension of the valueselling framework, the languagethe tool set, but it is a rigorous disciplined approach to prospectingthat we bring to our clients. We also have a product called executive speak,and that is okay. If I'm going to...

...have these opportunities on my pipeline and goingto have to make an executive sales call, how do I best prepare for that salescall? Do My sales reps have that business acumen if you will to engagean executive and have a conversation about how they can add value, both ofthem as individuals, Anto Anto? Their business and then all ofour clients often go through different types of application workshops that areextensions of valueselling. It might be hey. How do I jump? Tart jump start astalled opportunity in my pipeline. How do I differentiate myself or createneed in the face of new competitive alternatives facing my clients or newproducts, that I need to be able to engage new buyers on? So we work withall of our clients over time and think about how value selling can beapplied to solve their specific challenges that are getting in the wayof optimizing their sales productivity. There is no one size fits all solutionfor optimizing, your sales and marketing organizations. Yet how yousell and market is a tremendous differentiator value. Prime solutionsuses proven formulas in frameworks with a customized approach, to increase yoursales in marketing Roi to learn more about how we can help you visit value,Prime Solutionscom. So let's, let's talk reach for a second other valueselling framework. It isn't new, as Yut said, you've been doing this for fourtyfor the years and Loyd Ha done it before that I've granted. In my opinion-and I am biased for anybody- who's paying attention- Yes, I do sell andimplement this. It is the most effective framework, in my opinion, tounderstand the buyer landscape, as it's changed in the last decade, reallyunderstand things from the buyers perspective, but I'm curious since it'sinception how many companies have been clients- and you know roughly how manystudents globally, you guys- have trained we've trained tens of thousands ofstudents all over the globe. Value Selling isavailable an a multitude of languages and many of our clients aremultinational clients that one of the reasons they select us is because wehave the ability to localize and translate our content and deliveraround the globe and local languages. You know in terms of the number of companies,it's it's hundreds of companies from the very smallest companies from astartup that might only have four or five clients to some of the largestmultinational companies on the globe that our household names I mean Googlehas been is well, has been and is a client NCR is a client. We work with anumber of large software companies, business services, companies. We workwith professional services, companies...

...that don't even think they have a quoteunquote sales force like a deloyt in Tush, but guess what somebody still hasto go out and get a customer so theyre we work withprofessional firms. In that that framework we were woith inside sales tooutside sales. I would say the common denominator. An our client base againis that business to business, complex, sale, difficult to differentiate andtypically a business decision when that purchase is being made somewhere in theexecutive ranks of a client organization NA excellent. So let's talkimplementation for a moment. We've both seen clients who implemect correctlyand get the results they want, and sometimes they don't right and I'mcurious from your perspective, having worked with as many clients as you have,why is it that sales people sales executives havea tendency to struggle with the implementation side of it? Because that's where the real workcomes? In I mean the reality. Is I mean so sothink about it? Think about how hard it is to change adult behavior. I mean, ifyou just even looked at it, it prime behavior of the weight loss industry,there's no silver bullet to losing weight. You eat less and you move more.Yet it's a multibillion dollar industry where people pay lots of money forother people to tell them hey. You got to eat less and move more or eat this,and not that the same is true when you think about how we're going to changeadult behavior in a sales organization when value selling associates isbrought in we're brought in because we we want the sales people to interactand engage their perspective buyers in a different way, and so we're going to teach them skillsand we're going to work with them to build those habits. Well, human natureis working against us, so the companies that look at this type of a methodologyor process as ani event, I'm going to do a two day- training drink thecoolaid and my world is going to change, are setting themselves up for failure,because human behavior will always revert back to kind of the steady stateand the habits that they already have in place. And the challenge with sales,sometimes is you could have a sales wrap who is successful in spite oftheir skills and so they're getting rewarded for doing the wrong thing,because, for whatever reason somebody just bought from them, so the clientsthat we really embrace and and the best practices that we bring to them is thishas to be a process that the...

...organization wraps his arms around, andwe do a number of things to transfer the ownership and the success of animplementation from us as the consultant and the expert and thetrainer to the leadership and Management Team in our clients, and wedo that in a number of ways, we actually focus specific trainingofferings on the managers. So what is your role in driving adoption? How doyou coach it? How do you measure it? How do you recognize success and builda unique, separate skill set within those managers? We also know that wefor sales people, we need to align the tool set and the skills that we bringto them into where they're working on a daily basis and so for most of ourclients. Today, their sales reps are expected to be doing something in somesort of a sales force: automation, whether it's Microsoft, Yn emx or salesforcom, were theyre tracking, their interactions, tracking their activities,tracking the opportunities as they develop, and so we integrate in a lineto that, so that valueselling doesn't become another thing that the team hasto do. It becomes the way we do everything within that organization,excellent, much more of an amplification, an alignment rather thana ripout and replace absolutely absolutely and- and you know,people always ask me what about the senior guys? What aboutthe people that have been in the field for twenty years? And things like thatand the good news is because value selling is a very intuitive approachand, as you said, it's all about understanding, better understanding ourclients through a set of engagement, skills, we're not pitching we're notprofessing we're, really teaching them how to engage that nine out of tentimes when a senior person comes through our class they're like hey. Ido this when things are going really well and now what you've provided meJulie is a language. So I can more effectively communicate with my bossabout when things are breaking down and a tool set to better manage theopportunities, and so we're not trying to undo things that are working wil. Wewant to build on those best practices with terminology with tools and withthe ability to replicate success throughout an Organization D. can yougive us an example of a company that you feel like at that? Youa can talkabout publicly, but be that you feel s done a great job of implementingvalueselling and seeing those results yeah and I'm happy to Hem. We've got anumber of client success stories that we havepublished, but but an example that I...

...would talk about right now is a companycalled map ar and they're a software organization and they brought valueselling ind. They trainedtheir managers, they integrated the terminology and the tool said into notonly their sales process, which I defined early earlier, but into theirmanagement process as well, and because of that value selling really becameowned in the implementation and the execution and the results were reallydriven and measured by that organization, and they saw tremendoustremendous growth. We've also worked with a client years ago that was the number two competitor in their space and they they were kind of what I wouldcall of n ambulance chaser sales force. They would go find where the number oneplayer was and then their whole story was hey, I'm better faster, cheaper. Ifyou love, if you like them, you're going to love me because I can doeverything they can, but the reality is th, they were different. They did havesome incremental value. So by going with that better, faster, cheaper, theywere on average, discounting eighteen percent from their list price for everytransaction. They closed after value selling, where we spent an inordinateamount of time in the classroom focused on this whole concept of how do wecreate need for Ou differentiation? The result was not only a skill set thatthose sales raps had, but a new energized confidence thathey were valuable and they didn'thave to discount to win and through that implementation, almost overnight,but certainly in the next thirty days they saw that discount rate reducedfrom eighteen percent to five percent woa. Now the interesting thing is theye'restill a client, and I can't I have a no publicity clause with that client, butthey were acquired by the number one competitor in that space, the peoplethat they had been. You know stealing business from and in the press releasewhen they announced that acquisition that they noted one of the reasons fortheir purchase was their quote: UNQUOTE: Well trained professional salesorganization. So I take that with a real pride that we we made such animpact that the competitor had to take them out. Okay. So now I need to ask about theStevie awards. Last year, valyselling clients were sizable. Portion of thewinners are lot of vae on clients that were recognized, and I'm just kind ofcurious for you. You know, as he owner of the business and and the presidentand Co of all this. How does it feel to...

...be involved in that and be able torecognize those clients for that success? I love it. We've been involved with theStevi awards for a number of years, and it is a phenomenal opportunity for usto partner with our clients and get the leaders and the sales teams and theorganizations recognition for their phenomenal results. So over the yearswe have had a number of clients recognize asthe best sales leader, the best sales team, the best sales ennablement teamwe've had a client recognized for the best sales meeting that they've put on,and it's so rewarding to see the thrill in these client in these clients whenthey get that recognition. I have client that has turned the recognitionthat they got as a result of partnering with Value Selling in the Stevi awardsinto a phenomenal recruiting tool. I mean they put their. They put the SteviWard logo on their website as hey. We are one of the best sales organizationsin America come work for us and that sales leader is extremely proud of that,and that gives him some great credibility as a leader not only in hiscompany but in the industry as a whole. So it's a tremendous reward to be ableto celebrate the success in the partnerships that we have with theclients that we have perfect. So, let's talk about Bay, sellings kind ofbusiness model and how you attract a new associates. You know and surethey're up to the caliber of the brand and the facilitators that you knowprotect the quality of your brand and o. what's that look like, and how do youwork with the associates to kind of essentially help them start their ownbusiness? Well, absolutely it's an interesting business model B and quitefriankly. It's not for everyone, because it is a licensing businessmodel. So what that means is we attract really good sales talent? Who is in aposition that they want to set up an entrepreneurial business but leverage awell known brand and world class and ellectual property, and and do that asa part of the value selling brand? So we're looking for you know world classsales, talent and sales leaders in their own right and one of thedifferentiators. I think that we bring to the marketplacees. We can telleveryone of our clients. Hey any facilitator that we put in front ofyour class is not only a world class facilitator. They still today use thevalue selling framework every day and use our skill set every day to createtheir own clients of with valuselling. So we use valueselling to sellvalueselling as a mater of fact, we've got some associates that are boldenough. That they'll sit in front of a...

...vpssales and say hey. What I really would like you to do iswatch how I run this sales call and how this reading goes for the next fortyfive minutes, and if this is how you would like your sales raps to intereact with theexecutive, I am probably perfect for your team. But if this isn't that'sokay, then I'm prop. This is what I would be teaching them, so I'm probablynot a good fit and we've never vor. Had anybody say you know what I didn'treally like, how that called it. So so that's part of that. So once we findthem and we we license them based on their saleskills. A most sales guys are not afraid to be on a platform, but we sowe're really searching for th those sales skills and and the people thatare really interested in building a business as opposed to people who onlywant to teach, but once we get them on board, we do have a rigorouscertification process to make sure that the facilitators understand how toengage the classroom. Our kind of hallmark of participant, centeredleader, led workshops where we do a lot of exercises. Sales Reps are on the feet. We believefirmly that people learn more when they're having fun and that Andand. So we make that classroom fun.We also know that they learn more when the experience or what they're learningis connected to something that they already know is true, so the classroomexperiences tailored to every client that we have from understanding their language, theirproducts and building tailored case studies that allow them to practice theskills ind real world simulated sales, Organi situations that they would haveoutside of the field. I think our team is is the best in the world and and andit's amazing we have because of our team. We have been able to do thingsthat I don't think, there's another sales methodology company on the planetthat can can do and and here's a perfect example about two and a half years ago we wereapproached by a c one of our clients. I already mentioned them NCR and theywere having as many sales organizations do their global kickoff meeting at youknow a big fancy shfancy hotel on the east coast. They were going to beflying in over twenty five hundred people to participate in that meetingand what they decided they wanted to do. As part of that meeting is introducevalueselling to the entire financial services vertical sales team. It wasroughly six hundred people, so they wanted to train six hundred peoplesimultaneously in one place. Now we try to keep our classroom size an you knowbetween twenty five and thirty. So for...

...that six hundred people we ended upbringing in twenty three facilitators, delivered twenty three simultaneousclasses and here's the kicker in six different languages. We had a Chinesefacilitarator and materials- Japanese, Spanish, German, French and Oh yeah.The rest of us were speaking English and the the international audience thatcame into the room, the Chinese and the Japanese after sitting through threedays in a sales meeting that was one hundred percent in English and thenwalked into a workshop with local language materials, local languagefacilitator. They were on top of the world and I don't think anybody else could havepulled that off with the caliber of people, the quality of the experienceand the scaleability that we could do in that particular session yeah I can.I can attest being and being one of the newer valueselling associates that notonly is the business model scary to start, but you know what, ifyou, if I look back now, what the ten months ten months in I am now at thatpoint, that you told me when we first met that I would hit at damn. I wishI'd done this four years ago right and it's like okay, you can see thepossibility so that empowerment and you're right most sales guys don't havea problem being on stage, but then, when I just we just got back from theassociates meeting you get to meet so many of the associates and the level ofexpertise and experience and insight that is in that room across that teamglobally is, I would have to gree unbelievable andunmatched in any of the other mithdologies I've run into ore beentrained in so for that I want to say personally say thank you andcongratulate you on being able to get the company to that point, thanks Chad.So let's change direction a little bit here. I ask all of our guests towardsthe end of the interview two standard questions as Aceo. That makes you a theNice word is prospect. The real word is target, and so I'm curious help ouraudience understand what gets your attention when someone is trying tosell to you, someone you don't know, but who wants to get in front of youwhat works best to capture your attention and build their credibility? Well, there's probably two things.First of all, tthere's there's no replacement for timing. Sowhen someone reaches out to me at the point of time that I'm thinking aboutsomething so, for example, I'm currently thinking do we need to changeour learning management system, and so I've got that's on my radar, it's on onmy mind and if somebody were I sh probably shouldn't say this: Ifsomebody were o contact, Froma LMS company today, I'd probably be open tothat conversation. So timing is one thing and the reality is for most salesraps. You know the more activity to have the higher the likelihood thatthey're going to head hit somebody at...

...the right time. But beyond that, Ithink what what really interests me is. Someone who you know quite frankly getsme. Somebody who understands my business. Somebody who's done a littlework to understand and potentially predict what my challenges will be. Igot a call yesterday from a recruiting firm. Well, if you look at my website,you know that my business model is such a model. That a recruiter probably isnot going to be someone that I'm interested in talking to, becauserecruiters want to place people with high salaries, because that drivestheir compensation. So and years ago our company was called valuevision and we changed. We changed the name almost ten years ago, but it turnsout. There is a discount I retaild, I wear chain in the southeast calledvalue, vision and they're in Nashville, and you know all over the southeast tothis date. I get calls for people calling me at value selling associatesthinking. I run an eyeglass compay and either they're complaining aboutyou, know the the retail clerk in Nashville or they're trying to sell mesomething for a retail solution. So that's me says they didn't even look atme. INM linkedin. They didn't even look at me on my website. They didn't doanything to understand me. I have no time I don't have time to waste andjust like any executive, I am not sitting at my desk going Gash. I reallyhave nothing to do today. Wouldn't it be great if a sales wrap that I didn'tknow selling something I don't think I need just called me right now nobody's sitting around that. So it'sit's the messaging, it's the approach, it's the timing and it's showing themthat you know them and then you can add value to them. I think that is socritical, perfect. The last question: We call it our acceleration insight. Ifthere's one thing you could tell sales marketing or professional servicespeople, one piece of advice: You could give them that you believe would helpthem hit their targets. What would it be? And why so years ago I was in a managementtraining class in the the consultant that was working with US shared with us,the text of a speech that was written by a gentleman by the name of AlbertGrey, and it was he was at the time which was the late es, the country'stop life insurance salesman and he delivered a speech at a nationalconvention and he called that speech the common denominator of success, andin that speech he defined the common denominator of success is the onlydifference between people that are successful and people that are notsuccessful is that successful people make a habit of doing the things thatunsuccessful people hate to do...

...so. You know you think about that. Youknow successful people make it a habit to prospect every day. Successfulpeople make it a habit. Torigorously continuously qualify opportunities.Successful people make it a habit to do the things that we all need to do, butthey do it every day were failures or unsuccessful. People will find theexcuse, find the reason procrastinate it out and and therefore not reach thatsame level of success. So it's all about discipline and execution and Chad,you and I have talked about this ton over the last ten months. It is notwhat you know how to do. It's what you actually do, that makes the difference,and so knowledge and process is the starting point. Discipline andexecution is what will get you. The results that you're seeking perfectJulia listeners interested in talking more about the topics we touched ontoday. What's the best way to get in contact with you easy, my email is super simple Julie,Julie at value, sellingcom, visit value, sellingcom and sign up for ourcomplementary newsletter. We do monthly webernars and give away our content ina number of ways to sales professionals all over the globe and we'd love totalk to you and about what's going on in your world and how we might be ableto add value to you. So I can't think you enough for taking the time to be onthe show. It's been great. Having you thanks chat. I appreciate it all righteveryone that does it for this episode. Please check us out of btob revizeccomshare the episodes with friends, family coworkers. If you like what you're hearleave us Roeview on Itunes, we do look at those it does determine who we bringon the show to give you guys H, type of content, you're looking for so take thetime to do that and check out the website. Bob Revezaccom, because we'regiving away five bucks starbucks cards if you fill out a feedback form for us,so Lbuy, Ou Cup of coffee, you give us, give us some feedback until next timewe avevalue prime solutions whish, you all nothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the btobrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show, an itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank youso much for listening until next time.

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